Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Big Breakfasts for Big Results

By Joe Wilkes via beachbody newsletter
Breakfast. It seems like forever since Mom told us breakfast is the most
important meal of the day, but one study shows it's actually true—she wasn't
just nagging us. Breakfast is a key component of weight management: A study
presented at the 90th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society showed that
participants who consumed large breakfasts high in protein and carbohydrates
followed by a low-carb, low calorie diet for the rest of the day lost almost
five times as much weight as the participants who followed a low-carb,
high-protein diet throughout the day. So what's the big deal about breakfast?
And what is a big breakfast anyway? It doesn't seem like the lumberjack special
at the local diner would do much to get the pounds off, so what should
we be eating?

Eggs and Toast

The study supported the idea that when we wake up in the morning, our bodies
want food. You've burned through all the fuel from the previous day, and now
your body's ready to burn anything—even muscle—to get a jump-start on the day.
And if you skip breakfast, muscle is indeed what your body will burn. Later in
the day, your brain is still in starvation mode from breakfast (or lack
thereof), so your body will store all the calories you eat as adipose tissue, or
fat, to save up for the next day when you try to starve it again. This study
also found that levels of serotonin, the chemical responsible for controlling
cravings, were much higher in the morning, which is why breakfast is the meal so
many of us are willing to skip. But if our bodies are left unfed, our serotonin
levels drop, and our bodies' craving for sweets begin to rise throughout the

But before you hit McDonald's® for their 800-calorie Big
Breakfast®, or worse, their 1,150-calorie Deluxe Breakfast, or swing
by Denny's® for a 740-calorie Grand Slam® or 950-calorie
All-American Slam® with hash browns, keep in mind, these weren't the
breakfasts the study participants consumed. The big-breakfast group had a
610-calorie breakfast as part of a 1,240-calorie day. Breakfasts included milk,
lean meat, cheese, whole grains, a serving of healthy fat, and one ounce of
chocolate or candy to defray the craving for sweets. The other group's
participants consumed 1,085 calories per day as part of a high-protein, low-carb
diet; only 290 of their daily calories were consumed at breakfast. Both groups
were on their respective diets for eight months. The high-protein group lost an
average of nine pounds, but the big-breakfast group lost an average of 40
pounds. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the big-breakfast group complained less
about cravings and hunger.

The big-breakfast group's breakfast consisted of 58 grams of carbs, 47 grams
of protein, and 22 grams of fat. Study reviewers attribute some of the success
of the big-breakfast group to the fact that the protein and healthy fats eaten
kept the participants full and reduced cravings. They also said that nutritional
requirements were well met and that there weren't empty calories consumed,
because the breakfasts included lots of whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, and
healthy unsaturated fats. So bad news for the lumberjack-special devotees—a big
plate of greasy hash browns, bacon, and biscuits with gravy isn't going to get
the job done, unless the job we're discussing is clogging your arteries.

Here are some healthy big breakfasts, similar to the ones consumed by the
study's participants.

Chicken and the Egg

2 large eggs, scrambled
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 boneless, skinless
chicken breast, grilled
1 grapefruit

589 calories, 52 grams
carbohydrates, 48 grams protein, 19 grams fat, 5.5 grams saturated fat, 12 grams

1 comment:

  1. Better believe it...I was never ever one for breakfast - now that I eat it - actually I eat 6 small meals a day - and have lost 35 lbs so only problem now is to get motivated to that the weather is getting nicer, I am going to try walking to start off with....